Here is a counterexample to consequentialism that I've been discussing with someone, and I'd like to hear others' thoughts on it and whether it's a standard example in the voluminous literature on consequentialism and, if so, whether there is a straightforward way of handling it.
Ten members of a firing squad each fires one shot at an innocent man, each bullet hits him, and he dies. Suppose that the first bullet that hits him also kills him immediately. It is false of the soldier who fired this first shot that had he not fired the bullet, the man would not have died, so this soldier's action of firing at the man had relevantly similar consequences as the counterfactual action of not firing. 'Relevantly similar' means that the morally relevant features of the consequences of each action--whether or not an innocent person died--are the same. Thus, if consequentialism is true, then there is no basis for saying of this soldier that he should not have fired at the man, because the morally relevant consequences of doing so would have been the same as inaction. We can suppose that this is a voluntary firing squad, so that no one would have suffered reprisals from a commanding officer or anything like for not firing. We may suppose that this soldier is a nihilist and shot the man on a whim and derived no satisfaction from it and nothing else good came of it, in which case consequentialism would seem to have the absurd consequence that it is not true that this soldier should not have fired at the innocent person, or we may suppose that he derived some small amount of satisfaction from shooting at a human being or some other trivially but positively valuable consequence resulted from firing the shot, in which case consequentialism would seem to have the absurd implication that it was better for him to fire the shot than to not fire it.